“Sorry I had to reschedule our sleep over,” I say, Raphael pulls me into a hug.
“It’s no problem, duty calls,” he says, pecking me on the cheek. Before meeting Emily at the car, I watch them leave before walking back inside Zahara’s house, where everyone waited in the living room. Braum sat on the couch, holding Lorelei who passed out in excitement over seeing him, and hearing the news that he’d be moving into town.
“I’m sorry for intruding, really,” Braum starts. “I just don’t have anywhere to go right now, my money is still bundled up and when I went to Adeya’s house she wasn’t home,”
“Why didn’t you call? Or text me?” I ask, sitting on the chaise with Laila. “And what exactly is your plan? Didn’t you get back into NYC?”
“I did, but then I put in a transfer request for UCLA,” he says. “Call me crazy, but I wanted to be closer to my daughter,”
“No one is calling you crazy,” I say, looking around the room at my friends faces, I’m sure they were calling him a lot of different things. “You can stay-”
“In a hotel,” Zahara says, standing up and pulling out her phone. “Until things get settled courtesy of Magnolia Records,” I look over at her, but she’s avoiding my eye contact.
“Really? That’s amazing thank you,” he says.
“I can get you a suite by campus,” she says, before leaving the living room.
“It’s late, I should get Lorelei home,” I say while pushing out of the chaise and walking over to Braum. “We can talk more about this tomorrow,” I say. I scoop Lorelei in my arms, and she curls into them. “Good night everyone,” I shout, before leaving towards the front door. I don’t break down until Lorelei is stuck into bed, I have to close my door and press my face into my pillow so she couldn’t hear me.
I could feel the wave of Braum crashing over me, as I sink back into the pit of feelings, I had for him. I thought him being Lorelei’s life would be easy, it seemed a whole lot easier when he was across the country, and not down the street. Despite him dating Demetra, and despite both of us not talking each other for nearly 5 years, every time I looked at him, I saw the same boy who lived across the street. The same boy who picked the pepperoni off the cheese because he liked the flavor and not the meat, the same boy who cried because he saw roadkill. Everything I loved about him, and even more with Lorelei and now he’s back.
“The official album release date, is November 15th,” Zahara says, snapping me back into the meeting I was sitting in. “Just in time for black Friday, when we will release the pre-sale tickets for the tour,”
“And the album listening party?” I ask.
“I already reserved two more spots for Emily and Raphael, she’ll get the invitation with everyone else,” Zahara says.
“Is everything okay? You seem distracted?” she asks, I push out of my seat.
“I just need some air,” I leave the room, walking down the hall to the girl’s bathroom. I push open the window leaning out, inhaling the fresh air.
“What’s wrong?” Zahara says, pushing into the bathroom. I turn around.
“You know exactly what’s wrong” I say, leaning against the wall.
“Adeya baby, I need you to focus,” Zahara says, walking over to me. “You’ve got to get your head in the game!”
“This isn’t high school musical,” I snap.
“This is the long run Deya, your Album comes out in two months, your first single comes out in less than a week, next year you’re starting the biggest tour of your life, you need to focus!” Zahara snaps back. “I know things are stressful, no one saw Braum moving to California alright, but we have to put that aside because right now, you need to focus on you,”
We leave the bathroom together, returning to the meeting room and finishing the meeting. When we’re finished, I’m whisked off to my first Radio interview since we released the first official statement about Lorelei. Zahara already prepared me with the questions, but I wasn’t surprised that nearly half of them were about Lorelei instead of my upcoming album. My goal was to steer the conversation away from Lorelei and focus mainly on my album. We arrive at the 34.5 Radio station, taking the private elevator to the studio.
“Adeya! It’s so good to see you,” Regina, the stations manager says, pulling me into a hug.
“Hey Gina,” I say.
“I’m excited to hear the album, I hear the sneak peek and I just am on the edge of my seat,” she says. “Donny and Lynn are already ready; we’ll start whenever you’re fully set-up. I nod pushing my way into the studio, taking a seat.
“Hey Adeya, how are you?” Lynn asks.
“I’m good, it’s good to see you guys,” I say.
“We’ve missed you!” Donny says. I hook myself into the microphone, and hear the familiar buzz meaning the song was coming to an end. “And that was Ariana Grande’s new song, if you want to hear more of Ms. Grande call in and ask!” Donny immediately says.
“And we’re excited to announce that we have Ms. Adeya Waterson in the studio with us today!” Lynn says excitedly, I hear the fake applause and I laugh into the microphone.
“Hi Donny, Hi Lynn,” I say, into the microphone.
“This is your first Radio interview, since you finished your Unstoppable Heart Tour,” Donny says.
“Yes, I needed a little break but I’m back and I’m ready,” I say.
“Can you tell us the name of your upcoming album?” Lynn asks. “Or is that top secret information,”
“Like the identity of your daughter,” Donny says, earning the gasp reaction button. I laugh holding in the fear and pushing out a smile.
“The name of my new album is called Unforgettable Heart, and my first single is called Not Over You, and is coming out next Friday,” I say.
“I hear with have a little sample of that song for the listeners out there, want them to hear it?” Donny asks.
“Of course,” I say, a button plays, and I hear the beginning of the sample.
“Sorry if I came at you hard Adeya,” Donny immediately says.
“It’s cool, I’m fine,” I say. The sample ends and we’re back on air.
“That sounded amazing Adeya! We’re so ready for this new era” Lynn says.
“I’m ready too,”
“You did great!” Zahara says, handing me a coffee cup as we leave the radio station. “You sounded amazing, the response the demo is amazing!”
“That’s great,” I say.
“What’s the matter?” she asks.
“Just a lot going on,” I admit.
“I know, I know, but you’re strong,” she says, nudging me. Braum is hanging out with May and Lorelei, Lorelei is playing with her blocks and toys, and May is watching over while Braum sits next to her,
“Mama! Mama!” Lorelei says, excitedly jumping and running over to me.
“Hey baby girl, how was your day?” I ask.
“I hung out with Daddy!” I say.
“Was it fun?” I ask scooping her into my arms. She nods and I pepper her with kisses, before moving into the kitchen with her on my hip. “How was school?” I ask.
“Good, Lacy Gray invited me to her Birthday party,” she says.
“I’ll RSVP right away,” I say, sitting her down on the counter. May trails into the kitchen carrying her bags.
“See you tomorrow?” she asks.
“See you tomorrow,” I say, and she smiles. “And I hope you do rethink the whole tour thing, I can understand if you don’t want to go for the full 7 months but having you around would be a really help,” I say.
“I’ll think about it, I’d have to talk a lot over with my school and parents, I’d love to go,” she says.
“I’m not pressuring you or anything, just don’t say no,” I joke, and she laughs before turning and leaving the kitchen. Braum then takes her place, standing in the entrance as I start a snack for the day,
“I caught your radio interview,” he says.
“You did?” I say.
“I just so happened to tune in,” he says, before walking over and standing near me. “I am really sorry about everything, if I would have known about Demetra and Bo, I just”
“You don’t have to apologize for all of that, it’s in the past,” I say.
“I just feel so stupid,” he says.
“Anyone would,” I say, I let Lorelei go and she dashes out of the kitchen back into the living room.
“I should be heading out; I’ll see you tomorrow?” he asks.
“See you tomorrow,” I say.
“I have one question though, you and that Raphael guy… You a thing?” he asks.
“Braum,” I say
“What I can’t ask? I saw him at the barbeque,” he says, leaning against the counter. “How long has that been going on?”
“None of your business,” I say, turning to him and leaning against the counter. “Nothing you should be worrying about,” Braum doesn’t say anything, just eyes me before moving closer.
“How serious are you two?” he whispers, I make eye contact with him and he’s already leaning forward kissing me. I don’t stop him, and he pushes me against my counter, his hands on my waist. His hands move up my body under my clothes, sending fire everywhere.
“Braum,” I whisper.
“Do you want me too stop?” he asks, I push him away taking a breath. Running my fingers through my hair. “Sorry,” he whispers, his face red, I grab him by the hand pulling him out of the kitchen, I check the living room where Lorelei is happily sitting and watching TV, I then pull Braum into my recording room shutting the door behind myself. I pull him into another kiss, pushing him against the door. All the feelings of the last few years are resurging, in hot panting. We start shedding our clothes, until it’s nothing but us and our bodies, and when he’s inside of me, I felt like I was in high school again.
“Don’t stop,” I demand, as we lie on the ground together. He grunts in my ears, his breath hot. I’m hot, my head is swirling with thoughts, and all I could think about was how good everything felt. And when we finish, I felt like a different person. When everything is over, we’re just lying in the studio together practicing on our breathing.
“I’m seeing someone,” Braum admits, my heart thudding against my chest. “Her name is Carson, she’s great,”
“Then why did you sleep with me?” I ask.
“Because I missed it… I missed you,” I don’t have anything to say, I just get up pulling on my clothes.
“Bye Braum,” I say, before leaving the studio and joining Lorelei in the living room. Regret bubbling in my stomach at what we just did. I felt stupid letting my emotions control my body, letting my feelings of high school resurge, when he already has moved on too, and so have I. Poor Raphael has been pulled along while I can’t get over an EX that is still popping in my life consistently.
“Please repeat that because I must have heard you wrong,” Laila says. “You slept with Braum?” she says.
“Yes,” I say, pinching the bridge of my nose.
“Please tell me you used protection?” she asks, I look at her and she crumples in her seat. “Adeya!” she says.
“I’m not ovulation, and I got Alec to get the morning after pill,” I say,
“Does he know it was with Braum?”
“He didn’t ask,” I say.
“Who else knows?”
“No one! Zahara is going to crucify me, I just feel like a real idiot,” I say,
“Don’t go too hard on yourself,”
“What about Raphael? Do you think he’s going to mind this little slip up?” I ask.
“Don’t tell him! Duh! Braum probably isn’t going to tell his new thing about what happened, why should you?” she questions.
“I just feel scummy, Raphael deserves better,”
“No, you deserve better, and that’s Raphael! If you lose him than your right back to being sad about him,” she says. “You need to get over him!” after my call with Laila ends, I send May off for the day and get Lorelei ready for bedtime. While I cook dinner, Lorelei colors in a picture book on the table.
“How was school love bug?” I ask, as I move through the kitchen. “Anything interesting?”
“No, Daddy did pick me up with May and his new friend,”
“Carson?” I say, Lorelei nods. “Was she, nice?” Lorelei nods in response. “Pretty?” I ask, and Lorelei gives me a smile “I’ll take that as a yes,”
“Who is she?” Lorelei asks.
“Well you remember Raphael. Mommy’s special friend? Well that’s daddy Special friend,” I say.
“Are you guys going to be special friends?” she asks.
“Me and daddy?” I ask, and she nods. “We were but things happen,” I say.
“What things?” she asks.
“I’ll tell you when you’re older,” I say, before walking over and pinching her cheeks. I continue dinner, before plating our food and packing everything else away. Before I can sit down and eat, I’m pulled to the home phone, quickly answering it. “Hello?”
“Ms. Griffin, you have Mr. Patterson here to see you accompanied with a young guest,” The security officer says.
“Let them through,” I say, before hanging up the phone. It doesn’t take them long to arrive, and I let Raphael park in the garage, beside my unused Volvo that Zahara forced me to buy.
“Sorry for the surprise, I forgot how secure your place was to get into,” Raphael says, as I greet him at the garage door.
“No need to apologize, we were just sitting down for dinner, Hi Olivia,” I say.
“Hi Adeya!” Olivia says happily. “Every time I’m here, it’s just like wow I’m here!” she says happily.
“Come inside get comfortable, Lei say hi to Raphael and Olivia,” I say.
“Hi Olivia!” Lorelei says excitedly. “Want to go see my toys?”
“Honey, Olivia doesn’t really play with toys and you have to eat dinner first,” I say.
“I would love to see your toys!” Olivia says, taking a seat beside Lorelei. I slide my plate towards her before grabbing her bags, and leading Raphael upstairs.
“I hope I didn’t intrude on your night; I know you don’t have many free nights on your own,” he says.
“No this is perfect, Lorelei loves company closer to her age it’s usually my friends or my band,” I say. I put Olivia’s things in the guest room across the hall from Lorelei’s before leading Raphael to my room.
“You look great,” Raphael says, as I push him into my room.
“You look good too,” I say, he scoops me into his arms pulling me into a kiss.
“I’m sure the girls can occupy themselves, right?” Raphael whispers, with a smirk.
“I was thinking the exact thing,”